The buds came out a little early on the old fruit trees this year, but the temperatures have chilled down. That's great because it's slowing things back down and getting us closer to schedule for many of the fruit trees, crabapples, even roses, too. The buds haven't opened up too much, so they haven't been damaged by frost.
They also haven't opened up too much, so you can do a little preventative pest maintenance, too. Now is the time to coat the trees with an oil spray. You want to use either horticultural oil or neem oil. Spray the tree so that you can coat the branches and buds. It will the eggs of codling moths and caterpillars and insects such as scale, mealy bugs, aphids, and spider mites.
The idea of these dormant spray is to kill the insects before the leaves and flowers come out. It doesn't harm the tree.
When you are spraying, start from the top of the tree and work yourself down, just spraying enough so it's actually dripping down from the branches.
Once you've sprayed the tree, another nice thing to do, is to spray the soil with neem oil. Neem oil has the ability to be a fungicide and by spraying the ground around the tree, you'll kill a lot of the fungal spores that are on leaves or old fruit that might be around the base of your tree. So if you spray around the base of your tree, you're helping with the diseases, too.
Spray now on a nice warm day, about 40 degrees or warmer, and not too windy. And do it before the leaves and flowers come out and you'll have a step up on tree maintenance this year.
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